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Thursday, 15 June 2017

CCT aquittal: “My vindication calls for celebration" - Saraki | “Our head is bruised but it is unbowed” – Presidency

The Code of Conduct Tribunal on Wednesday, discharged and acquitted the Senate President Bukola Saraki on a false declaration of assets case brought against him by the Presidency.

Saraki has described his almost two years long trial at the CCT as a torturous one.

Saraki in an official statement on his acquittal by the tribunal said that although he went through a crucible trial, he harboured no grudge for anyone despite the roles they might have played in the trial.




He said that it was rather time for celebration of the victory of democracy and sign that the innocent still have a chance in the judiciary.

Saraki said his acquittal called for celebration, however called on all his supporters not to engage in any form of “unbridled triumphalism”.

Chairman of the Tribunal, Danladi Umar who ruled, said that there was no evidence to continue the trial against Saraki

Read full text of Saraki’s statement:
Today, June 14, 2017, the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Abuja discharged and acquitted me on a case of false declaration of assets, which started in September 2015.
You would recall that at the beginning of the trial, I maintained that I will clear my name. The conclusion of this trial has vindicated my position. With the outcome of this case, our faith is renewed in our courts and our hope is restored that the judiciary in our country could indeed provide sanctuary for all those who seek justice.
I thank the Almighty Allah, the ultimate Judge and the repository of all powers. He alone has brought about this victory. I am immensely grateful to all my colleagues in the National Assembly for their abiding support. All through my trial, they demonstrated their strong conviction about the choice we all decided to make two years ago. I thank members of my family for their unflinching support. I thank all friends and supporters back home in Kwara State and across the length and breadth of our country for their prayers and their sacrifices. My gratitude also goes to all members of my legal team for their tireless efforts to ensure the cause of justice is served.
After undergoing the crucible of a tortuous trial, my vindication today calls for celebration. It is my belief however that if there should be any celebration at all, it should be a celebration of the hopes that this judgment gives us as citizens that despite all the challenges that we face as a country, we are well on our way to building a country where the innocent needs not be afraid. I therefore urge all my supporters to refrain from any unbridled triumphalism. The challenges that our country faces today are enormous and do not allow for wanton celebration. Instead, we should all reflect on the significance of this moment and what it meant for our democracy.
On a personal note, I harbour no grudge against anyone, regardless of the role they might have played in the persecution that I had endured in the last two years. I believe that If my trial had in anyway given hope to the common man that no matter the forces arraigned against him, he can still get justice in our courts, then my tribulation had not been in vain.
Once again, I thank my colleagues in the 8th Senate for standing firm. Regardless of the distraction of my trial, we have achieved more as legislators than the previous Senates. Now that this distraction is over, we can even achieve so much more. We must now proceed from here with greater vigour to deliver on the expectations of Nigerians and show that this 8th Senate can indeed play a central role in improving the quality of lives of our people.
Lastly, I thank all the gentlemen of the press for your abiding interest in this case, which I believe had contributed in no small measure in ensuring that truth and reason ultimately prevailed.
However, the Presidency has described Saraki's victory as a mockery in the war against corruption.

The special assistant to the president on prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla, said there was overwhelming evidence against Saraki that could not be dismissed on a no-case submission.

He also described as “hogwash” that the CCT’s ruling was an outcome of a political settlement reached between Saraki and the Buhari administration, The Cable reports.

“It is a travesty of justice. It is pedestrian and it is outrageous. It is against the weight,” Obla said.

“There was overwhelming evidence, cogent evidence, incontrovertible evidence, which cannot be dismissed by a no-case submission. The trial judge ought to have called on the defendant to enter his defence against the evidence adduced by the prosecution.

“The prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), is one the best in the country and he conducted that case professionally, conscientiously and diligently. So we are amazed, we are surprised.

“We know that President Muhammadu Buhari is a paragon of integrity. The Attorney General of the Federation is also a paragon of integrity that will never compromise cases.

“And we will go on with this fight against corruption despite the frustration, despite the setback. We will go back to the drawing board, re-strategise because Nigeria must be saved. Our head is bruised but it is unbowed.”




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